It Beats Working at Payless

Look, if I’m still nervous after six months when I go to work in the morning, it’s my own fault. Really, the job is not bad at all, all I do is check people’s coats, give them a little tag, and return the coats when the people are finished eating. Ten to six, and I get a half price meal! And truth be told, I did read that last line of the job ad, the one that said the applicant should have some familiarity with the use of a Nynaxitron High Speed Plasm Vaporizer and Matter Combiner. I just figured I could fake it at the interview, and you know what? They didn’t even mention it. But lately I’ve had some troubling dreams, and I’ve begun to wonder why this four ton machine that almost reaches the ceiling of the coat check room is even there, practically pressing me against the wall, giving me almost no room to stand. I look at the feeder belt and all the gauges and dials and big red warning stickers, and I think to myself: Why does Anthony’s Family Restaurant even need a Nynaxitron High Speed Plasm Vaporizer and Matter Combiner? Because it’s never been used, not once. No one talks about it, either. But when I asked Anthony if maybe we would have room for thirty coats instead of just fifteen if we didn’t have the thing in there, he just shifted his eyes in a strange way and said, “Better not mess around with that space too much.” Then this one time, Jose who washes the dishes went past and stared at the machine for a minute, then held up his handless right arm and started cursing loudly in Spanish. Weird, right? Kind of like the strange, spiky pencil scrawl underneath the intake flange, the one that just says HELP ME.

It’s like I keep getting sucked into jobs where this happens. I remember when I went for the janitorial gig at the hospital, and all they asked me at first was if I was comfortable mopping large floors and if I had any scheduling limitations and if I had a ride to work, and then on my first day the woman said to me, “Just clean up Ward 4, and please sub for Dr. Brown at ten; he has a shoulder surgery scheduled in OR nine but can’t make it.” And let me tell you, I was so nervous, never even having graduated from high school, that I nearly made a total mess of that operation---it took me twice as long to finish as it was supposed to. I really need to ask more questions up front at these interviews, or maybe at least seem like I’m more professional and won’t be taken advantage of. I read an article that wearing swim trunks to an interview can be a negative, so for me that’s totally out from this day forward.